In response to recent events, we at Youth in Arts recommit to lifting up the voices of the unheard and underrepresented. Access to creativity empowers youth to share their voices and ask difficult questions of themselves and of the world.
Equity is at the center of our work. Starting this week, we are launching YIACr8tes Conversation, looking at race, identity and racism. Teaching artists presenting these free digital lessons include Jessica Recinos of Rising Rhythm SF, Youth in Arts’ Program Director Kelsey Rieger and other Mentor Artists from the YIA roster. Each lesson will end with guiding questions for parents and educators to ask children. The lessons will air on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at 1 p.m. PDT today (June 8), Wednesday, June 10, and Friday, June 12.
“We will continue to facilitate art and put creativity in the hands of those often left out of critical dialogue,” said Youth in Arts Executive Director Kristen Jacobson. “We will drive discussion of implicit bias, policies that support equity and unobstructed access with educators, administrators and parents. We will not shy away from pushing the conversation surround privilege and power, especially in our community. We will continue to build a network of advocates that look to arts education as a vehicle for social change.”
As many schools look at slashing the arts because of budget shortfalls in light of the pandemic, we urge them to look for free and affordable resources and partners. Along with shifting to online learning, many students are trying to find their paths amid trauma, economic uncertainty, isolation and the chaos of world events. Access to art and creativty is more important than ever for offering ways to support mental and emotional health. Creativity can be also be used as a catalyst for discussions about anti-racist parenting and classrooms.
“Covid-19 pushed educators and parents to find innovative ways to engage creative exploration through digital/virtual means – Youth in Arts was ready and present with online learning. Now, as the trauma of Covid-19 is compounded by intensity of racial justice protests, Youth in Arts is again ready to join parents, educators and schools to inspire conversation and dialgoue on critical issues,” Kristen said. “Youth in Arts’ work has long centered on equity and we feel empowered to step forward as a leader and resource for our community.”
We urge you to join Create CA’s statewide effort to promote the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning. This resolution outlines students’ rights to a high-quality public arts education, regardless of background, culture, language or where they live. Youth in Arts has already signed on. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at more ways to create digital programs to address racial and social justice.
In the meantime, here are some resources:
From the New York Times, books that help explain racism to kids
From National Public Radio, Raising White Kids: How White Parents Can Talk About Race
Also from The Times: 26 short films for exploring race, bias and identity
We are grateful to be able to do the work that we do at this important time. Please join us and please reach out with any suggestions or resources for continuing racial justice work through the lens of arts programming.
Middle school artists at Bayside MLK Academy in Marin City have worked on a variety of creative projects this year, from creating posters to making mandalas.
With so much going on in the world, students use words as well as images to express what matters to them. In class we examined protest posters from the 1960s up to the present, discussing how images are created and used. We looked at various fonts and talked about the importance of size and shape of words when conveying messages. Students were thoughtful and reflective in considering whether to use a few words or no words at all to accompany their art.
Using stencils, stamp pads, poster board and markers, students created incredible posters. Faced with the limitations of the large letter stamps available, the artists were quick to free themselves of traditional ways of writing words. Some artists stamped letters on top of each other, using watercolor paintings made during a previous class.
For the mandalas, students used gold and silver pens on black paper. We discussed the role of mandalas in history and the use of symbols to represent peace and unity. Students were asked to begin with one of five shapes: a square, circle, cross, spiral or triangle. Each artist put thje chosen shape in the center of the page. Although the artists learned how to create mandalas using rulers and the principles of geometry, most found it more enjoyable to use the power of their own creativity to complete the process. They traced circles using Mason jar lids, bowls and paper plates. The results were stunning.
On Sat. May 25th, the Marin City Recreation Department & The Hood Games present another day of skateboarding, youth performances, music, art-making & community love. The 12 noon – 4 p.m. event is all about keeping our youth safe, active & creative. Local co-sponsors include: Youth In Arts, Prooflab Skateshop, Triumph Skateshop, Marin City Health & Wellness Center, Marin City Health & Human Services, CA4Health, Venture Trucks & Big Thanks to S-One Skate Helmets! – Let’s Roll!!!
Arts Specialist K-Dub works with students at Martin Luther King Jr Academy on a school beautification project.